AFRO-fusion artiste and founder of the Qaya Foundation Mentorship Initiatives, Willis Wataffi, yesterday left the country on his debut tour of the Middle Eastern country of Dubai.
Wataffi will perform and interact with other artistes for two weeks at the month-long Dubai Arts Expo which started at the beginning of May and in various schools and institutions as part of his Qaya Foundation Mentorship Initiatives after being invited by various Dubai-based Zimbabwean business communities.
Founded in 2005 by Wataffi, the foundation focuses mainly on charity work and mentorship of local artistes and he has since worked with St Giles and King George schools and also with award-winning musician, Prudence Mabhena.
“My idea is to help up and coming artistes with the backbone of whatever is needed to be done for one to stay alive in the local music industry as a way of nation building and promoting responsibility as artistes,” he said.
Wataffi who has been a professional musician for a decade now said he had since realised that instead of telling youths of today to stop doing drugs and other self-destructive activities it was better to teach them to do something worth the while.
The talented vocalist, who wowed crowds at the recently held Judgment Night event in a collaboration with Mudiwa Mtandwa, said he did not miss Afrika Revenge, in which he was formerly a performing duo with Mehluli “Taz” Moyo. He hoped that people would move from associating him with Afrika Revenge as he had since moved on from it and “the chemistry that once existed between them was gone”.
He said contrary to rumours that had gone around stating that the two had bad blood, he and Moyo did not have bad blood and when they broke up as a duo Moyo had simply quit music while he carried on with solo projects which was common in bands.
“My new focus is making artistes realise the importance of originality and having a sense of belonging to their roots,” Wataffi said.
He said the reason why a lot of people were in correctional services facilities like prisons and rehabilitation homes was because they had the “big” brains to commit crime thus he could play a role in making them realise that their actions could be better off and helpful in positive, yet artistic ways.
The dreadlocked musician who is also a clothing designer and architect said local audience and those beyond could look forward to a rebranded former Big Brother Africa (BBA) representative, Munya “Hakeem” Mandaza in his new single titled Voodoo Man.
He said the song would portray a ladies man (Hakeem) who in actual fact was only interested in one woman who did not give him as much attention as the other ladies did.
“I should make it clear that I actually wrote this song before he even got into the BBA house so anyone considering linking it with his relationship with Cleo, his former housemate from Zambia, can as well cancel the thought,” Wataffi said.
He added that he would be working with various other artistes including Betty Makaya, Willom Tight, Jah Prayzah and Roki amongst others. Wataffi said it was important for artistes to identify with the average people on the streets and having a big name was not supposed to distance them from people and their origins and that was simply taking responsibility as citizens.
“I am not snatching any of the artistes I am working with from their managers, but simply helping to bring out another side of them.”